Monday, March 10, 2014

Icebox Lemon Cream Pie

Back when the Midwest's summer was just getting cranked up last year (and Florida's was already in full swing), Chicago Magazine ran a picnic article with recipes for two scrumptious-sounding desserts: salted caramel brownies from pastry chef extraordinaire Gale Gand and an icebox lemon cream pie from the good folks over at Bang Bang Pie Shop in Logan Square. I have to admit that I'd be hard-pressed to find a better brownie than my mother-in-law's (and I'm not being coerced to say that, either), but the pie definitely caught my attention primarily due to the source - I'd never had the pleasure of trying a Bang Bang pie before we left town, however, the word on the street is that they're a serious rival to my favorite Chicago pie people, Hoosier Mama. So, with anticipation in my belly, I set out to re-create the icebox pie for some dinner guests that Mrs. Hackknife had invited over one Thursday evening not too long ago.

This was my first ever homemade Graham cracker crust - I'd heard it was pretty simple (just a combination of cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter) and it was. Keebler even sells boxes of pre-crushed Graham crackers for the home cook without a mallet or rolling pin to do their own dirty work. Once the crust is baked and cooled, the filling isn't much more difficult, although I ran into a little trouble when separating out the egg yolks from the whites. The recipe calls for 5 egg yolks, which is exactly what I had in the fridge until I lost one in the garbage can during the separation process. After a brief panicked moment during which I actually considered digging the soiled yolk out of the trash, sanity gripped me and I decided to simply adjust down the ingredients to account for one less egg and hope for the best. As it turns out, I needn't have worried - the filling level in the pie shell was a bit paltry, but the taste was just fine (as you can see in the photo above, there wasn't much left after a few days), so good, in fact, that I'm not putting this pie in my regular rotation for cookout/picnic-themed desserts. My hope is that the locals here in Florida will embrace it since the flavor is pretty darn close to our beloved Key lime pie...

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